Many thanks to all contributions and especially our newsletter editor Roy Fisher.
On the evening of Wednesday 24th January, the choir sang to a group of nuns in the lovely church at Llantarnam Abbey. They were attending an international convention and their programme (spanning a few days) included events familiarising them with Welsh culture. Now what could be more fitting than a performance by Pontnewydd Male Choir? The programme included music from Wales (of course), north America, Africa, Ireland and Europe – but we were unable to include anything from India. Our musical team of Keith, Annette and Natasha guided us safely through calm waters (it had been another miserable day, weather-wise) and Ian charmed the ‘sisters’ with his informative introductions. We were left with no doubts about how much our audience had enjoyed our efforts. It proved to be an enjoyable and worthwhile experience
The April 7th concert at St. Woolos Cathedral in Newport raised the magnificent sum of £2500 for the NeoNatal Unit at the Royal Gwent Hospital. Feedback on the concert was very favourable and choristers were very appreciative of the acoustic properties of the building.
A number of choristers made their way to London on Friday May 19th for the W.A.M.C. Festival at the Royal Albert Hall. For a large proportion of them it was their first visit to the Festival – and they were not disappointed. Older current choristers had made their first visit in 1978, when our tenors were in the front row and singing under the nose of Owain Arwel Hughes.
This photograph was taken by Graeme Davies’ wife and you’ll see others on the pages of this website. It’s surely true to say that the first time a chorister takes part in the concert leaves an indelible memory – the hairs on the back of your editor almost stood on end, even if it doesn’t show in the photograph !!
On the evening of Thursday 28th June we hosted the first class Lux Singers from the city of Provo, Utah. The concert took place in the wonderful setting of the Church at Llantarnam Abbey. PMC has entertained a number of American choirs in years gone by and the musicianship of choirs who travel ‘across the pond’ has always been something to admire and appreciate.
It quickly became obvious that we were listening to a group of qualified musicians – not just singers. All were either studying music or had completed their courses and a number of them were conductors of their own choirs. Soloists delighted us, the bottom (male) end almost made the floor tremble, the ladies soared effortlessly while the altos anchored the sound. How long did they hold the hummed note that introduced “How Great Thou Art” and their conductor sounded as if he was a soloist in his own right. Their varied programme left us in no doubt that we had listened to one of the top American choirs.
Our thanks go to our Chairman, the musical team and our Stage Manager for their parts in making it a truly memorable occasion. Posted on Facebook by the Lux Singers and here is the accompanying piece of text:
“We had a wonderful day in Cardiff! We loaded the bus early and headed to Cardiff Castle. Then after a short stop over at the bay, we headed to an open air history museum all about Welsh life. Our concert tonight was at the Llantarnam Abbey with the truly wonderful and invigorating Pontnewydd Male Choir! We had a wonderful time!”
What a choir! – and we also seem to have left a very good impression. A standing ovation from The Lux Singers – enough said!
Some weeks after the concert our chairman made a presentation of a £700 cheque to Sister Alice of the Order of the Sisters of St Joseph as a result of the ticket sales for the concert.
On Saturday 7th July we had a good audience at the concert in The Church of the Holy Cross in Mark, Somerset. It proved to be a successful evening with the audience very appreciative of both choir and our soloist, Natasha. Our chairman Ian did a grand job of both compere and stage manager – he’s a promising lad and his Welsh is coming along nicely!
The 2018 Annual Concert was held on the 8th September at Rougemont School. Some of those who were experiencing ‘the Annual’ for the first time will probably have heaved a huge sigh of relief and been thankful that it was all over, hoping that their inexperience had not been too obvious. But perhaps some of them felt elated, delighted that they had been able to contribute and wondered why they hadn’t joined the choir years ago. Verdicts from choristers, the musical team (thank you all) and certainly feedback from members of the audience was very favourable.
November was a month to remember....
It started with a visit to the Dean Hospital in Gloucester where we sang especially for Frankie Jones, a former chorister who is a long-term patient.
A few days later on the 6th we sang at the Remembrance Service in Holy Trinity Church where The Last Post and Reveille did not sound and Harald severely tested our vocal chords.
Then a group of stalwarts sold poppies in Cwmbran town centre, raising thousands of pounds and on the evening of 15th the choir sang in a special concert in The Parkway Hotel.
On Saturday November 17th the boys in red sang to an adoring public (only a slight exaggeration) in the Principality Stadium and the singing of the anthem inspired Wales to produce exciting rugby and beat the men from Tonga by 74 points to 24.
"Ko e fasi ʻo e tuʻi ʻo e ʻOtu Tonga" literally means, in the Tongan language, “Song of the king of the Tonga Islands”. In daily life the title used is “Fasi Fakafonua” which translates to “National Song”. We prided ourselves in our “ability” to pronounce the words after much patience by our local Tongan teachers.
The Walford Hutchings Memorial Concert on December 15th at the Salvation Army Citadel in Old Cwmbran was yet another successful occasion, especially since it was a different in a number of ways. Our Musical Director (Pauline) was in hospital and our Deputy Conductor (Keith) took over. Pressure of events during November had restricted rehearsals of Christmas music and resulted in us, unusually, singing all our pieces with the aid of music copies in folders. One of our guest artists was a young lady, Aimee Pask, who is still at school and whose musical lessons are being sponsored by Pontnewydd Male Choir. The other two soloists were Mansel Young and Paul Reynolds. Our sincere thanks go to our soloists and, in particular, to our musical team for successfully bringing us through what was a testing time for us all. Smiling faces at the end of the concert left us with the feeling that it had been worthwhile and another great start to the festive season. At the end of the concert the presentation of a cheque for £1000, raised by the efforts of the wonderful Ladies Committee, brought an appreciative smile to the face of our Treasurer. Good company in “The Mount” afterwards with more than ample free refreshments provided by Louise rounded off a very pleasant evening. The musical renderings were appreciated by other customers and were even frequently in tune